According to our poll, 54 per cent of Canadians said they oppose giving special protections to EU firms, "similar to the protections American investors in Canada have as part of free trade with the U.S. [that] let them sue Canadian governments if they feel a government policy, including an environmental policy, unfairly affects their investment or profits in Canada."
Should the "right" of a foreign corporation to make a profit trump governments' attempts to create local jobs, improve environmental regulations or establish laws that raise royalty rates? Most Canadians would say no. But that's what the Conservative government is pushing poor countries to accept if they want Canadian investment.
No politician or citizen stands above the law, and each citizen must pay income taxes. When the lawmakers fail to follow their own regulations, citizens should demand better. In order to take parliamentary suggestions and regulations on tax avoidance and evasion seriously, citizens should feel confident that their MPs, first and foremost, are following the rules.
The creation of Common Causes gave me hope. I have long felt that we desperately need a hard-nosed civil society movement that will challenge the Conservatives with massive campaigns drawing on the resources of hundreds of groups. Common Causes may be able to build an effective forum and voice for Canada's liberal-minded, progressive community but, as we have been in Quebec, this can take years.
As activists from around the globe are convening at the Rio +20 conference to protect our common resources from private interests, the Stockholm International Water Institute's decision to award PepsiCo for its water efficiency is a cruel irony. There are some resources that simply shouldn't be bottled, traded or sacrificed to the market, and that is especially true of water.